Universities of Wisconsin unveil $32 million workforce proposal

Published: November 7, 2023

Universities of WisconsinMADISON, Wis.—The Universities of Wisconsin today unveiled a $32 million proposal to develop more engineers, nurses, data scientists, and business and finance leaders. The effort would continue the Universities’ ongoing emphasis on meeting workforce needs.

The proposal comes in response to the 2023-25 state budget, which assigns $32 million to the UW pending a plan to use it to address workforce issues.

“This plan is exactly what the legislature is looking for – a concentrated emphasis on adding more graduates to the workforce in key areas,” said Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman. “We are Wisconsin’s greatest talent magnet and talent generator, and this funding will add to our existing role in helping Wisconsin win the War for Talent.”

UW will present the plan to the Board of Regents on Thursday for approval. After that, Rothman will deliver the proposal to the Joint Committee on Finance, which according to the budget must approve the plan for the funding to be delivered to UW.

The plan calls for UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee to receive approximately $2.5 million each and the remaining 11 universities to receive approximately $1 million each annually for the biennium. Each university will tailor the funding to educate more students in some or all of the four key areas: engineering, nursing/health care, business/finance, and computer/data science.

Once fully phased in, funding, if approved and continued, is expected to add more than 9,300 graduates in the four areas in a five-year period, including more than 2,100 in each of the four key areas.

UW universities already deliver nearly 15,000 graduates into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and health careers each year. That is close to 40 percent of all degrees awarded by the Universities of Wisconsin overall and reflects a 30 percent increase over the past 10 years.

 “I’m proud of the critical role our universities play in shaping Wisconsin’s workforce of the future,” Rothman said. “The Universities of Wisconsin have the capacity to add thousands of graduates to the workforce in critical areas, and I know we’ll be responsible stewards of this funding when it is released by the legislature.”

The Universities of Wisconsin serve approximately 161,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the universities are Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of in-state Universities of Wisconsin graduates stay in the state five years after earning a degree. The universities provide a 23:1 return on state investment. The Universities of Wisconsin also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.


Mark Pitsch
Director for Media Relations
Universities of Wisconsin

Scroll to top